Make the most of 2014! Don’t just dream….LIVE!
Well, another year is gone, and as I reflect back over the past twelve months, I think of the places to which I traveled, and I smile, as I always do when thinking about visiting new places, meeting different people, learning new things, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
In March, I visited Dublin, Ohio, for a huge St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, home to one of the top ten St. Pat’s parades in the United States. I celebrated my Irish heritage in one of the greenest of green events this side of Ireland with lads and lassies from all over the country, as well as a few good friends.
In May, I flew to Ft. Lauderdale for some beach time, then rented a car and drove to Key West where I stayed overnight in one of the oldest homes there that is now a hotel. I stood at the southernmost point in the U.S., only 90 miles from Cuba. I got to see magnificent treasure recovered from the famous shipwreck, Atocha, that sank in 1622 (perhaps the highlight of that trip). I visited the Everglades National Park and took a fan boat ride. I ate conch (a sea mollusk that lives in a shell-the kind that you hold up to your ear) at the Conch House that was featured on ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.’
In July, I visited a place closer to home that I had never heard of until I stumbled upon it. Blennerhasset Island, an island in the middle of the Ohio river near Parkersburg, WV. Originally an Indian settlement, it was later purchased by a wealthy Irish couple who built a mansion there, and a very interesting story (that I will tell you about in a future article), ensues. I rode a paddle wheel ferry boat to the island, rode a horse drawn carriage on the island, and toured the mansion, learning a great deal of history.
In September, my tour company, Rambling Fever Travel, took a group to Renfro Valley, a 55 acre entertainment complex known as ‘Kentucky’s Country Music Capital,’ where we saw some of the best musical talent I’ve ever seen. We shopped in unique stores in the quaint village at Renfro, ate a fantastic southern style meal, and saw some great historical exhibits.
Also in September, RFT journeyed to the remote mountains of Pocohantas County, WV, where we rode the Cass Scenic Railroad, a vintage steam locomotive train that chugged along the same rails that were built in 1901, used during the logging boom. We saw some of the most beautiful mountain scenery I have ever witnessed.
Now, a new year is here, and if meeting new people, experiencing more sites, adventure, culture, and education is on your list of goals for 2014, why not do all of those things by making a resolution to travel more. Think it’s not possible or too expensive? Here are some ideas for you to consider. They include travel clubs, tour companies, and Internet specials from some fantastic sites.
Here are some great ideas:
Women Traveling Together — This is a travel club just for women. So, you are single, widowed, or your husband just isn’t interested in traveling? Or do you and a sister, aunt, or friend like to travel together, but not alone? This is a good club for you. Included with membership dues of only $45 a year, you get access to all WTT members, a travel dollars bonus program, and a listing of trips throughout the U.S. as well as international tours, all of which are small groups that are guided. For more information, call 800-795-7135 or visit them on the web at Women Traveling Together.
Affordable Travel Club–This is a hospitality exchange club for people,over 40. It is a program where people share their homes to accommodate travelers in exchange for a small gratuity fee per night. Yearly membership between $65-80, gets you listed in a directory, contacts with other members, as well as information on other low budget lodging. This isn’t for everyone, but a great way to visit a location cheaply, and with all the added benefits of inside information on the area from the host. For more information, visit Affordable Travel Club online or call 253-858-2172.
Shockey Tours–This tour bus company is based out of Louisville, KY. The closest place from here to board is Lexington. I have traveled with them before and they are wonderful. They have tours going to popular destinations all over the U.S. I plan to travel with them again this fall on a New England tour covering eight states. You can find them online and download their brochure or request a catalogue, 502-267-7009.
Jolly Travelers–This is a tour company based out of South Charleston, WV. The closest pick-up location from here is St. Albans, although they do pick up in Huntington depending on the route. Their trips are primarily in the eastern U.S, but they usually have a couple cruises a year and sometimes an international trip. They have a Western Caribbean Cruise coming up at the end of the month, and an Alaska cruise at the end of May. I have traveled with them before too, and they are great. To request a brochure, call 304-727-0345 or 304-744-2540.
Rambling Fever Travel–This is my local tour company, based here in Louisa. We are still growing, and our trips have included a Halloween trip to Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Renfro Valley, Cass Scenic Railroad in WV, and a New Year’s Eve trip to Indianapolis. We specialize in day trips, but offer some ovenights too. We are gearing up for 2014, with a murder mystery dinner trip at the end of March. More details will be posted soon.
For more information, call 606-673-4993, 606-624-5569, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internet sites are another way to get great deals on travel. Personally, I like Expedia. A couple years ago, I got two round trip airline tickets, and three nights lodging at a great beachfront motel in Myrtle Beach for $500. It was awesome! Just visit them online, you can book everything at one time.
There are many other sites that offer great deals too. A few really good ones: Travelzoo, Vacations to Go, and Apple Vacations.
So, make 2014 the year to GO, SEE, DO, BE….LIVE!